Have you ever felt stuck in a role, Reader?
A dilemma people often come to me with in mentoring sessions is whether or not they should stay at their current job or move on to something new.
Usually they feel frustrated in their current role, either because they don’t enjoy the work they’re doing, they’re not where they want to be in their career or perhaps not earning the compensation they know they deserve.
When I ask them what’s holding them back from applying elsewhere they tell me that they don’t wanna look like they’re “job-hopping”. They’re worried that what it will look like on their resume to have spent less than a year or two at the company and feel they should stick it out so the optics are better.
On the other side of the coin, I know folks in the tech industry who purposefully move jobs every year or two because they worry they’ll stagnate by staying in one place (and they found it easier to increase their compensation that way vs waiting for a promotion).
So how long should you spend at a company? Read on for my thoughts, and links to some content that is sure to help you level-up in your career.
Should you stay, or should you go?
My career tenure as a full-time designer so far looks like this:
Job 1: 1 year 4 months
Job 2: 2 years 9 months
Job 3: 1 year 7 months
Job 4: Almost 6 years and counting
Yep, I’ve now crossed the point where I’ve spent more than half of my career at ConvertKit.
I’m still here because I’m still growing.
Ultimately we should always make career decisions based on growth, not based on what we think will look best on our resume.
Are you still growing in your current role?
Are you learning new things and progressing your skillset through the projects you work on?
And does this growth align with what you want from your career?
If you answer to any of those questions is no, it’s not necessarily a sign you should quit; but it is time to speak to your manager about what growth could look like in your role.
Unless you’re in a toxic work environment or you just really don’t like the people you work with, I always advise designers to do what they can to grow within their current role before jumping ship. Job hunting is an exhausting process, and joining a new company means starting from scratch with building a whole new set of relationships and a whole new way of working. But avoiding that hassle isn’t the only reason you should do what you can to grow in your current role.
The value of staying
From my time at ConvertKit I’ve experienced the compounding growth of having a long tenure at a company. As an early design hire I’ve grown alongside the company; in my responsibilities, in my impact, in my knowledge, and also in my compensation 😉
I’ve built up a reputation and level of trust here that I can use to get buy-in for ideas and advocate for things I believe in. I also have six years of deep insider knowledge about our target audience, our business, and our product. This is incredibly valuable when it comes to doing the marketing design and brand work that I do, and every new thing I learn (because I am still learning!) only compounds the effects of this knowledge.
How could your impact scale if your knowledge of a target audience, of work processes, or of business needs became second nature? That’s the value of finding ways to grow within your current company.
I’ll know my time at ConvertKit is up when my growth rate slows, and when there’s no longer a path forward that aligns with how I want to grow next. And no matter how long you’ve been in your current role, that’s how you should make your decision too.
The value of leaving
Of course, long tenure sadly may not be possible at every company.
If you’ve made your career goals known to your manager and done your best to find opportunities for growth within your current role, but nothing is changing: perhaps it’s time to move on.
Don’t hang around for another six months in a role that you know isn’t right for you just so you can write a certain timeframe down on your resume.
Sure there may be some companies that see several short stints in a row as a concerning pattern, but the right company will be excited about your growth mindset as you explain what made you move on from those roles.
I think, at the end of the day, we’re all searching for the company we can learn and grow in for a multi-year stint and if it takes a bunch of shorter-tenure stints to find that place, so be it.
Ultimately you have to make decisions based on what is best for you.
The harsh truth is no one is going to care as deeply about your career as you do. So don’t spend longer than you need to in a role isn’t providing you growth and where you’re not doing your best work just because you’re worried about having your ‘loyalty’ questioned. If there’s anything the current economic climate and widespread layoffs in the tech industry are showing us, it’s that companies have to put their business needs first. So you better be looking out for your own needs first and foremost.
You spend a lot of your time working. And you deserve for that work to be serving you, not just the company you work for.
In the latest episode of the Design Life podcast, we talked about Femke’s decision making for leaving her job at Wealthsimple because of her desire for growth.
Are you clear on what’s next for you?
If you want to talk specifics about your personal career growth and your current job situation: book a mentoring session and let’s chat about it.
“I have so much more clarity than I did 30 minutes ago” ⬅️ A direct quote from one of my clients last week after we talked about her path forward and I helped her figure out what she wanted to optimise for. I’d love to do the same for you.
|Book a mentoring session|
Learn from the team at monday.com
The monday.com marketing design team are a super smart, super efficient bunch and I got to learn a LOT about their processes in this Inside Marketing Design interview. Trust me, their growth mindset will rub off on you too!
(You can also find the episode in your podcast player if that’s your preferred way to take in long-form content! Just search for “Inside Marketing Design”).
Instagram follow: Badass careers
Speaking of resume’s and career growth, Rosie’s content has some of the best advice I’ve seen for landing your dream role. It’s short, snappy and packed with value.
Go follow her @badasscareers to get the inspiration in your Instagram feed.
Somehow despite living in Spain where it basically still feels like summer, I’ve got a cold 🤧 I spent the weekend recovering while watching a fairly boring F1 Grand Prix and researching for a trip around the Iceland ring road next year.
Hope you have a good week!
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